The Italian Sibilla is an cartomancy deck based on the older divinatory meanings of playing cards, and were popular in France and Italy in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Most Italian Sibilla decks consist of 52 cards that correspond to the 52 pips of our modern playing card deck. Although some Sibilla decks, particularly the French Sybil, can contain 32, 36 or 40 cards.
The Sibilla, like the standard playing card deck, is divided into “quattro semi” (four suits): Picche (Spades), Quadri (Diamonds), Cuori (Hearts), and Fiori (Clubs). Each suit is composed of 13 numbered cards. The first 10 correspond to the standard playing card pips. The final three of each suit represent “Il Fante” (Jack), “La Regina” (Queen),” and “Il Re” (King).
The Four Suits of the Sibilla:
Conflict, combativeness, and the ability to fight for a cause, anger, aggression, violence, delays and obstacles, lack of progress, misfortune, pain, illness, disease, instability, mourning, sadness and grief. This suit indicates great mental force and courage.
|1 – Dispiacere||6 – Sospiri||11 - Il Nemico|
|2 – Vecchia Signora||7 – Disgrazia||12 – La Nemica|
|3 – Il Vedovo||8 – Disperato Per Gelosia||13 – Sacerdote|
|4 – Ammalato||9 – Prigione|
|5 – Morte||10 – Militare|
The material world, money, property, financial transactions, gain, rewards, career advancement, travel, ideas, and news. This suit indicates the power of personal charisma and magnetism.
|1 – Stanza||6 – Il Pensiero||11 – Messaggiere|
|2 – La Lettera||7 – Bambino||12 – Donna Maritata|
|3 – Dono di Pietre Preziose||8 – Donna di Servizio||13 – Mercante|
|4 – Falsità||9 – I Deliranti|
|5 – Malinconia||10 – Il Ladro|
The emotions, pleasure, happiness, balance, fertility, passion, affection, sentimentality, love, romantic interactions, and interpersonal concerns. This suit indicates emotional strength, and concern for the human condition.
|1 – La Conversazione||6 – Denari||11 – L’Amante|
|2 – Casa||7 – Letterato||12 – L’Amante|
|3 – Belvedere – L’attesa||8 – Speranza||13 – Gran Signore|
|4 – Amore||9 – Fedeltà|
|5 – Allegrezza al Cuore||10 – Costanza|
Creativity, fecundity, business and practical matters, social contacts, activities, progress through effort, adventures, studies, and learning. This suit indicates willfulness, determination, and great personal power.
|1 – Imeneo||6 – Consolante Sorpresa||11 – Domestico|
|2 - Superbia||7 – Gran Consolazione||12 – Giovanetta|
|3 – Viaggio||8 – Riunione||13 – Dottore|
|4 – L’Amica||9 – Allegria|
|5 – Fortuna||10 – Leggerezza|
Sibilla Card Combinations:
Here are a few of the popular Italian Sibilla decks available today:
- L’Oraculo Della Sibilla
- Sibilla Della Zingara
- La Vera Sibilla
- I Misteri Della Sibilla
- Sibilla ‘800
- Sibilla Originale Del 1890
La Vera Sibilla is considered by some to be the oldest surviving Sibilla deck, and it appears to be the inspiration for many of the later decks such as Sibilla Della Zingara and Sibilla ‘800.
My favorite Sibilla:
L’Oraculo Della Sibilla – This is a more modern Sibilla deck published in the late 20th Century with gorgeous illustrations by Giorgio Tavaglione. This deck has an “Ancient Roman” feel that appeals to me. Each card carries astrological, elemental, and planetary attributions that add to deck’s rich symbolism.
Sibilla Della Zingara: This is an older, more traditional Sibilla deck. There is little information available about its origins, but the designs are reminiscent of illustrations from the late 19th Century. The card images look yellowed and slightly stained, so this deck may be a reissue of an actual 19th Century cartomancy deck.